Jujutsu, submission grappling and other associated methods of groundwork has been in existence as a systemized method of self-defense since the Muromachi Period (1333-1568) in Japan. Today most of the techniques of throwing, pinning, locking, strangulation and grappling come under the contemporary label of “jujutsu.”
Probably the most popular, and recognized forms of Jujitsu are Judo and Brazillian JiuJitsu.
Judo was created by Jigoro Kano (1860-1938), a highly educated man who sought to combine and preserve the ancient martial traditions of Japan. Kano refined the techniques he had learned primarily from two traditional systems, the Tenshin Shin’yo Ryu and the Kito Ryu, and founded his own style, Kodokan Judo in 1882. One of the most important innovations in Kano’s Judo was the emphasis placed on “randori,” or non-cooperative free sparring practice. Randori allows the practitioner to develop the mindset and technical proficiency needed to apply techniques against fully resisting opponents in as realistic a venue as safety allows.
Brazillian JiuJitsu was created by Mitsuyo Maeda (1878-1941). Maeda originally practiced classical styles of Jiu Jitsu, eventually entering the Kodokan to study Judo. After remaining undefeated in Judo tournament competition, Kano sent Maeda to the U.S.A. in 1904 to spread the message of Kodokan Judo. Over the course of his career, Maeda fought in literally hundreds of matches, grappling with and without the gi, and fighting in “mixed” matches (that included striking and kicking, commonly referred to as “no-holds-barred” fights). During his travels, Maeda fought in the United States, Great Britain, continental Europe, Cuba, Mexico and finally Brazil. Throughout his career as a professional fighter, after engaging in over 1,000 free fights, Maeda retired without ever losing a match. The culmination of Maeda’s training in classical Jiu Jitsu and especially Judo, tempered by his extensive combat experience against all types of challengers, resulted in a realistic, street effective method of fighting.
Eventually, Mitsuyo Maeda settled in Brazil and opened an academy of “Jiu Jitsu.” One of his students was a young man named Carlos Gracie. After studying with Maeda for several years during the 1920′s, Carlos opened his own academy in 1925. Carlos and his brothers established a solid reputation by issuing the now famous “Gracie Challenge,” Where all challengers were welcome to come and fight with the Gracies in no-holds-barred match. The Gracies continued to develop the strategies and techniques they learned from Maeda, honing their skills with the realities of real fighting. Their system, eventually became known as Brazillian JiuJitsu.
There are a variety of opinions, if there is any ground fighting (ne waza) in Karate, although it is readily agreed upon that there are throwing, joint locks and striking of anatomically weak areas, found within the applications of the kata.
Whether ground fighting can be found in Karate is not really an important issue. The truth is, from time to time, the fight will go to the ground and it’s important that we have the ability to defend ourselves on the ground as well as when standing. As such, groundfighting is an important part of our Progressive training practice.
Just like we learn to crawl before we learn to walk, in our Progressive Martial Arts, we first learn to throw, and take-down our opponent in order to fight on the ground. This is our focus before we focus a lot of attention on developing our stand-up fighting skills. Through this pedagogy, all of our fighters are comfortable and confident fighting on the ground.